Turn on the Light
Municipal utility turns to software solution for better business practices
- By Jeff Whitney
- Feb 01, 2011
Since 1923, the city of Garland, Texas, has been providing electricity
service to its citizens through Garland Power & Light with its
locally owned and controlled not-for-profit municipal utility. With
nearly 68,000 customers, GP&L is the third-largest municipal utility
in Texas and the 41st-largest in the nation.
GP&L needed to enhance video surveillance protection of its wide-ranging infrastructure
and facilities, well beyond the capabilities of its existing analog CCTV system.
The utility has three gas-fired generating plants, for a total of 640 megawatts of
generating capacity, supported by a transmission system of 23 substations and 133
miles of transmission lines. In addition, the city is a partner in the Texas Municipal
Power Agency, which operates the 462 megawatt, coal-fired Gibbons Creek Power
Plant. GP&L’s energy distribution system has 1,007 miles of overhead lines and an
additional 1,000 miles of line underground. For this extensive and widely dispersed
infrastructure, GP&L required improved image quality, increased coverage and extended
video retention capacity for its video surveillance system.
Preferred Technology Solutions, an authorized Intransa integrator, provided
a complete solution to GP&L. The solution integrates three types of previously
installed cameras, including Axis Communications’ megapixel cameras, for greatly
improved coverage and higher image resolution. Eventually, GP&L officials envision
more than 300 IP cameras for complete video coverage to meet the utility’s
“The IP surveillance system is a major component in our ability to monitor and
protect our critical infrastructure,” said David Grubbs, regulatory and compliance
director of GP&L. “The Intransa platform provides scalable capacity that will allow
our new surveillance solution to cost-effectively meet our objectives, now and
in the future.
“Working with Intransa, we have integrated the three brands of previously installed
IP cameras and are able to use the newer technologies and cameras as they
become available. We are impressed with the ease of expanding the system and are
already beginning the next-phase expansion.”
A Milestone video management system now provides a new level of video
management and control to meet GP&L’s needs for both live stream monitoring
and video archiving capabilities. Milestone and Axis are both members of the
Intransa VideoAppliance, certified for quick, simple and risk-free integration
with Intransa platforms.
Supporting the new video surveillance solution is an Intransa recording and
playback platform that supports modular recording capacity without ever halting
“The platform used in the new Garland Power & Light IP video surveillance
deployment provides a simple, single-system view of all of the video recording capacity
supporting the Axis Communications, two other brands of IP cameras and
the Milestone Systems VMS,” Grubbs said. “Because of the design of the system,
we have been able to meet the bandwidth requirements of large numbers of cameras
recording continuously, as well as vast storage capability to meet our storage requirements
for up to 90 days of recorded video.”
The fault-resilient platform also delivers advanced RAID protection to eliminate
the risk of lost video, which plagues CCTV environments. Hot-swap technology
provides nonstop recording with unattended operation supported by e-mail
alerts, and without need for scheduled downtime for maintenance.
Access to both live and recorded video, and to system management
tasks, can be performed as needed from any authorized location
with IP access, providing increased flexibility and reduced
administration for GP&L.
This article originally appeared in the February 2011 issue of Security Today.